Commodity In the Real World

I read Jackson’s comment about Maystruck’s presentation and “Brandwashed”, and it stuck out in my mind. It came back to me when Hedges talked about it last night, and I found the comment in a speech he gave at UofT almost two years ago, before Egypt’s uprising took place.

“Everything in our world is a commodity – everything is either bought or sold and will be recommended or not.”

Hedges:
“When your community physically breaks down”, people retreat into fantasy and magical thinking. “Miracles and magic” are desired. “Absurdist policies” rule the day. Military spending is rising, but people want government spending to be cut. Attempting to push people back into reality, brings a rage from those attempting to avoid the world that almost destroyed them. “The end of the world is no longer an abstraction” in Detroit as Hedges points out.

37:30 in the video:

“The rise of the commodity culture, where everything from human beings to the natural world have no intrinsic value, but are judged only on their monetary value.”

Hedges studied religion, and is of the opinion that the loss of sacredness, where people don’t hold certain things like the natural world and life at a higher value than money, is a crushing weight on preserving civilization.

The Problem With Racists

Focus groups are good at focusing. If there is a strong racist voice in the group, they might start to focus on race.
CP/Bank of Canada

When I heard the news this morning mention the Bank of Canada changed the image of a woman on the $100 because she wasn’t white-bread enough, I thought I must have missed something. I couldn’t understand what the point was. That’s because there isn’t a point. It’s pointless racism, plain and simple, and formalized by the Canadian bank.

(I also immediately pulled one of the $100 bills I keep from under my pillow {kidding}, and checked what the fuss was about. Turns out, the image on the bill had already been changed {not in the time between hearing the report, and looking under my pillow}.)

I’d actually looked at the $100 a few days ago, inspecting it closely for the first time. At no point did I think, “You know, I think that should/shouldn’t be an Asian woman on the back.” What I did think strange was that I couldn’t find a name of a single Canadian medical innovator on the bill, even though it says “Medical Innovation” and they have a bottle of insulin and a DNA structure on it. Not sure why DNA is there, although there are no doubt important Canadian innovations in that field, Watson and Crick were not Canadian. Banting and Best were. I was a little confused why they were not gathered at the microscope on the bill while their life saving, world changing innovation appeared in bottle form in the foreground.

I found someone suitable for a Bank of Canada focus group, on Twitter:

ADDED:
I can imagine the process this debacle went through. Here’s a dramatization with thought bubbles for your amusement/horror:

Focus Group participant (in their inner voice): “I know I’m supposed to focus on this money, but all I can think about is Asian women. Holy crap, it’s because there’s an Asian-looking woman on the $100! Maybe that’s what the Bank wanted me to notice? I’d better say something.”

Bank of Canada group guide: “Our money isn’t supposed to make people think that only Asian Canadians know how to use microscopes to make medical innovations. We’d better use a race-neutral person, yet still female so as not to say that only men can make innovations, since we wouldn’t want to be sexist. There’s no race more neutral than white people, because white includes every colour, that’s a scientific fact. Scandal averted. Hooray for cultural sensitivity and political correctness! We didn’t offend Asian-looking Canadians by suggesting they have the capacity to be medical innovators and equal opportunity to appear on our money.”

Media: “OH RLY?”

Public: “Canadian Actress Sandra Oh should be representing medical innovation on our $100 note.” #GreysAnatomy

Me: *Head desk*

Oh RLY $100, Canadian $100 bank note before the bank took off the "Asian-looking" woman.

ConCalls: Poutine’s Email Address

I’ve emailed Postmedia for clarification, were there 2 or 3 emails?

The account was registered to someone using the email address pierres1630@gmail.com.

The order required PayPal to turn over account details, transaction history and the IP address used by pierre1630@gmail.com, whenever he or she connected to the payment company’s servers. Another email address, pierres@gmail.com, is also cited in the documents.

What does the 1630 mean? My guess is it’s the random number generated for “Pierre” by gmail, because otherwise his email address was too common.
By the way, Google should also be served with a production order, to list the IP(s) of the computer(s) that created those email accounts.

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And here’s a letter to the editor that my dad’s submitted to the Gravelbourg Tribune (and possibly elsewhere):

Why should we be concerned about the robo call scandal? Is it even a scandal, after all how many votes were affected? Maybe it is just stupid politics and not worthy of attention. The
answer to these questions provide us with the reasons why we should care. Prior to this scandal the ad scam which involved a few millions of dollars being mis-directed into the pockets of a
few individuals was the biggest scandal. Voters were mostly affected by the political games around the wrong doings, and the biggest impact was to set the notion that all politicians are criminal. A perception more than a reality. I can disagree with my MP, but I don’t label him as a criminal. The newest scandal is much more serious because it involves peoples basic rights.

This newest scandal was an act meant to interfere with the evaluation of the people that we pick to make the decisions that will affect our lives. Electoral fraud is an attempt to prevent that process. Electoral misdeeds are an attempt to sway peoples choice by the use of misinformation. This fraud is not a misdeed.

Remember that the Conservative majority was obtained when slightly more than six thousand votes changed in no more than 14 ridings. The Conservatives argue that a few calls cannot subvert democracy and that more than six million calls were made during the election. That is a strange argument when the fact that the vote change giving them their majority accounts for less than one tenth of one percent of the calls they argued were made. I don’t believe anyone would have spent the kind of money needed to make those calls if only one tenth of one percent was going to be affected.

We now know a few basic facts about these calls that were intended to discourage a vote. That is an illegal act. We know the calls included false representations also an illegal act. We know the false representations were to falsely represent Elections Canada or an other political parties, both of which are illegal. We also now know that these calls came to people that had previously indicated their lack of support for the Conservative Party. We know that this occurred in at least 31 different ridings. We know that the Conservative support across Canada is less than 25 percent of eligible voters and that their majority is eleven seats.

The question that needs to be asked is how legitimate is their mandate when the evidence indicates it was the Conservative database that was used to call non Conservative supporters to misinform voters in many more than eleven seats. Finally, it was a shift of less than one tenth of one percent of election calls that rovided them with their mandate. Seems to me that illegitimate is the most appropriate word that applies to this government.
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Bank of America Takes Rolling Stone Pounding

Holy crap! Rolling Stone tears limbs from the zombie Bank of America. You probably won’t read a more blistering, or researched condemnation of the 1% “Royalty” that literally has the state paying billions for the crimes of a few men it refuses to send to jail. BoA is one big reason why Occupy Wall Street exists, and must succeed in bringing about charges against the criminals who’ve absolutely imperiled the global economy with their greed and incompetence.

It’s an absolute tragedy that the WikiLeaks files on BoA are presumed stolen and lost by DDB who betrayed the journalistic organization to start his own “Open Leaks” website. We can only hope that the original leakers of the destroyed documents, maintained access or a copy of their leaks, and are willing to try again.

Digital Star Credit Card Scam – GLOBAL PAYMENTS – UPDATED

I’m a recent victim of Credit Card Crime. I’m actually kind of amused/intrigued by it.
My Visa was used by criminals to send ~$75 to “Digital Star” in the UK. Fraudulent charges appeared first after Feb. 3. Check your Visa, doesn’t matter which bank.

The charges were made by phone or Internet, Visa rep couldn’t distinguish! He suggested I phone Digital Star in the UK to first confirm I hadn’t dealt with them, although I was pretty sure I hadn’t made any ticket purchases in the UK, since I didn’t plan on going there anytime soon.

I’m not overly worried that my computer is compromised (cross my legs, hope to fly), and figure a business got hacked. Now I need to figure out everywhere online I have recurring payments set up, and add the new number. That’s a 10 day wait, and that’s the only downside to this, since I won’t have to pay the $150 missing from my credit.

UPDATE March 31, 2012
Ok, tonight CTV News reported Global Payments was breached, and up to 10 million cards could be compromised. The charges would have been in Jan. And Feb. I think we just learned what did this to us.

Lazy Loitering Louts

In light of the Occupy movements, younger people will find this vintage video from Vancouver, very vivid. You have to wait until the very end too for a killer video joke. The mayor, pictured in 1968, passed away yesterday at age 85. His vision lives on in the 1%.

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TD Bank made record profits again recently (they almost always do manage that), and here’s a part of why/how. I didn’t use my line of credit very much, always paying it off entirely very quickly when I did use it. Last year though I decided to borrow a little from it, to pay for my wedding. Expecting to pay it off sometime next year, I had a rather reasonable ~7% interest rate. I got a letter in the mail the other day from TD, however, stating that I was having my interest variance rate reviewed, and it was being upped by 1.25%! I phoned today to complain, and the call taker said that many people are calling, unhappy with up to 4% interest rate changes! Yet another reason to consider quickly switching more completely to credit unions instead, eh?

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Here’s where I saw the Vancouver mayor clip. It was on the Big Oily Questions for MPs page. Our lazy, loitering, louts in the House of Commons for the most part won’t give you a straight answer to these tough questions. I can answer them though. The answer is beneath the questions, as it’s the same answer for all of them.

1. Why aren’t some oil sands revenues being set aside for future Canadians?

2. Are we harming our democracy?

3. Are you aware of ‘Dutch Disease,’ and if so, how do we prevent it from eroding vital parts of Canada’s economy?

4. Have you examined the geopolitical risks of tying our fate to China as superpower?

5. Are we boarding an economic roller-coaster that could crash?

6. Why aren’t we taking a strategy that would directly shore up our own energy security?

7. Why raise fears about charities whose foreign funding is a tiny percentage of what China invests in Canada’s economy and politics?

8. Does becoming more oil rich mean we also will become more militarized?

9. Have we abandoned commitments to lower carbon emissions to help prevent catastrophic climate change?

10. Why not refine it here, creating jobs and lowering risks?

11. Were you elected to hasten pollution and increase cancer risks for Canadians?

Answer (in my best Harper voice):
In these challenging economic times, we have to remember that Iran frightens me. Therefore we must diversify our markets, and focus on the economy. I don’t see a recession coming, but these foreign special interests are trying to stop our ethical oil production and exports which must now be allowed to falter. The most dangerous thing in the world is Iran, not cancer. Don’t let the hippies turn Canada into a giant National Park for our American friends.